The All Blacks won't win the 2019 Rugby World Cup, leading to Joe Schmidt taking over as head coach.

Those are the bold predictions offered by Fox Sports Australia's Sam Worthington in a column laying out 19 rugby storylines for 2019.

Worthington picks Ireland to win the World Cup, writing that "If it's not next year, it might be never for the men in green, who are the world's form side and have developed genuine depth and, more importantly, unprecedented self-belief and clarity under wily coach Joe Schmidt".

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen. Photo / Getty
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen. Photo / Getty

"After beating the All Blacks for the first time in Dublin the only concern is they may have peaked and don't have further room for growth."

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While that could allow the retiring Schmidt the opportunity to leave rugby on a high, Worthington, while admitting it's a long shot, argues that he may not be able to turn down the All Blacks if they came calling.

"Steve Hansen has cleared the runway and while there are plenty of well-qualified candidates, none boast the claims of the meticulous former schoolteacher Schmidt. And if Ireland do win the World Cup, NZ Rugby should move heaven and earth to land him," he wrote.

Other bold predictions sees Worthington tip the Black Ferns Sevens to take the 2018-2019 World Series title over Australia, and Warren Gatland to take charge of the Wallabies after the World Cup.